By Laura Nalin
Ever noticed how the first thing you do each morning is most likely check your phone? Our global society is quite literally reliant on technology whether we like it or not. With this notion in mind, one of the reasons I love teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is the fact the locals keep us expats in mind regarding just about everything - including mobile app usage.
There are quite a few mobile apps you need to live in Vietnam. These apps listed below will make your life a million times easier as well as help you avoid some minor everyday frustrations that otherwise might pop up. I’ve categorized them to make everything a bit more streamlined - be sure to download all of these mobile apps once you start teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City!
While the main mode of transportation for those living and working in Vietnam is certainly the motorbike, there are a few other ways to navigate Ho Chi Minh City as well as the rest of Vietnam. Both of the apps mentioned below can be connected to your credit or debit card, so you won’t have to worry about accessing your wallet late at night or on a busy street.
Grab: This Singaporean-run company is Southeast Asia’s answer to Uber or Lyft. The service offers the exact same transport options as the Western apps you’re used to as well as my personal favorite: motorbike taxi. It will be pretty scary getting on the back of one of them at first, but it’s an exhilarating experience. Soon enough, you’ll most likely grow tired of relying on these drivers and will get your own motorbike. One of the reasons Grab is one of the most important mobile apps you need to live in Vietnam is because it’s a great option to have if you’re out at night - don’t drink and drive!
Taxi Mai Linh: Since Grab’s acquisition of Uber South East Asia, transportation companies have been scrambling to keep up with competition. This app is widely used for Mai Linh cars, but the motorbike services are quickly becoming popular. Once Uber’s presence in the city dissolved, Taxi Mai Linh began offering delivery, which allows customers to send items to a location or request the drivers pick something up for them.
Just like home, you’ll be able to order your favorite restaurants with the click of a button.
Vietnammm: Although I’m a [self-proclaimed] home chef, I do love to use this app from time to time. The amount of cuisine available in Ho Chi Minh City is pretty astounding, and this app helps you find it all. Sometimes I just scroll through the options when I’m bored to see what’s out there. I once found that I could get a massive cheesecake with my friend’s face on it for his birthday, which I obviously ordered through the app.
MarketOi: Of all the mobile apps you need to live in Vietnam, I’d say this is my top suggestion. Although I much prefer shopping on my own, this app has been a game changer for busy weeks when I can’t find the time to head to the market or grocery store to buy produce. MarketOi allows you to order groceries, toiletries, household goods and food from select restaurants with ease. The best part about it is that the items you order will be delivered to your door within 30 minutes. One time I decided I wanted a watermelon but I also realized I needed razors and they magically arrived in a moment’s notice.
Who doesn’t like to scout drink deals?
Sip: This subscription-based mobile app is ideal for those who are keen to get the hottest drink deals in town. While I’ve never used it myself, a few of my friends do, and they’re able to score one free drink per day as well as gain easy access to cheap happy hours.
This app is ideal for when your lease is up and you’ve gotta somehow get all your things across town.
AhaMove: While it might not seem like it, Ho Chi Minh City is pretty spread out. AhaMove is certainly one of the top mobile apps you need to live in Vietnam as it’s more than likely you’ll be moving around a bit while teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll just plug the pickup and drop off points into the app, submit what you’re moving and a predetermined price will appear - excellent for those of you trying to avoid any financial drama.
Although most serviced apartments will include a cleaning service 2-3 times per week, it’s sometimes nice to get a deep clean every now and then.
bTaskee: Although I wouldn’t necessarily categorize this as one of the leading mobile apps you need to live in Vietnam, it’s worth noting. There are a lot of similar mobile apps on the market within Vietnam; this is the most popular. For as little as 50K VND (~$2.20 USD) per hour, this app will connect you to cleaning and maid services whenever you’d like. In addition, you’ll be able to get in touch with people willing to assist with other home services such as laundry, cooking or nannying.
PROTIP: If you’re using this bTaskee for cleaning services, make sure you clarify whether the maid will be using your household cleaning products or whether she will provide.
Laura is a 29-year-old serial expat who left the states in 2013 in search of a fresh perspective - a decision which opened more doors than she could’ve imagined. She’s a lover of mountains, spicy food, stand up comedy, and will never turn down a pizza. Laura is one of ITA's Writing & Content Ambassadors.
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